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Amit Shah unveils BJP manifesto for West Bengal elections: Key takeaways

With the announcement to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in West Bengal in the first cabinet, the BJP has addressed the longstanding demand of refugee communities in the state.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury , Edited by Explained Desk | Kolkata |
Updated: March 24, 2021 2:27:58 pm
BJP, West BengalUnion Home Minister Amit Shah releases the BJP manifesto for Bengal polls. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Union Home Minister Amit Shah unveiled the manifesto of the BJP for the West Bengal elections on Monday. Titled ‘Sonar Bangla Sonkolpo Potro’, the manifesto has made a slew of promises for women, SC/ST communities, youths and intellectuals.

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Here are some takeaways from the BJP’s election manifesto.

Emphasis on welfare of various communities

With the announcement to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in West Bengal in the first cabinet, the BJP has addressed the longstanding demand of refugee communities, especially the Matua community from Bangladesh, in the state. This could prove to be a gamechanger for the BJP as there are about 42 Assembly seats in the state where Matuas have a strong presence.

Besides CAA implementation, the party has also promised Rs 10,000 financial aid to refugees for the next five years; inclusion of Mahishya, Tili and other Hindus OBCs under the reserved status; monetary support for education to Dalit and tribal girls; Rs 3,000 monthly pension to Matua and Dalpatis; Rs 5,000 crore intervention fund to assure farmers’ economic security and accidental insurance worth Rs 3 lakh for small farmers and fishermen.

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Focus on women voters

Under pressure from the ruling TMC’s women-centric election slogan ‘Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chay’ (Bengal only wants its own daughter) and its promise of monthly income scheme for women heads of the family, the BJP had no option than to reach out to women of Bengal.

In its election manifesto, the party has promised free education to girls from KG to PG; 33 per cent reservation for women in government jobs; free public transport for women among other things.

Jobs for the youth

The party had made a big promise of providing jobs to at least one member of each family in Bengal if it comes to power. It has also promised to set up tourism circuits across the state, which will further generate jobs for the youth.

Stress on Bengali language

To tackle the outsider and anti-Bengali tag, the BJP has laid stress on the promotion of Bengali language. It announced that once voted to power, Bengali will be made mandatory in school education till Class X. In addition, engineering and medical courses will be made available in Bengali.

The state government will also make efforts to get Bengali the official language status; launch a Sonar Bangla fund worth Rs 11,000 crore to promote art, literature and other such sectors, and also institute a Tagore Prize on the lines of the Nobel Prize and Satyajit Ray International Award. In the manifesto, the party has also promised a Rs 20,000 crore Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Fund for infrastructure development of schools and five universities at par with IITs and IIMs.

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